Owen Lane is the first to admit he has been through some tough times during his career amid a succession of untimely injuries.
But the Cardiff Rugby winger says he has now learned not to dwell on such setbacks and just to focus on the things he can control.
With that in mind, he is raring to go as he looks ahead to Saturday’s opening URC game of the new season against Benetton at the Arms Park.
Lane’s injuries have tended to come at the worst possible moments, just as he has looked on course to figure for Wales.
It’s meant he has been limited to five caps, the last of those coming against New Zealand in October 2021.
“The last few years have been difficult. I had a string of injuries when I felt like I was in favour and obviously the players that have come in for Wales have done a really good job,” he said.
“So it’s difficult for me. What I have found over the years is you can’t really dwell on that. I definitely let it get to me in the earlier part of my career when I was struggling with those injuries.
“I feel you’ve just got to take the mindset that you can’t really control that. The only thing you can control is playing well enough to get selected for your region and, if you perform well enough, hopefully you can turn a few heads with the coaching staff next door.
“If you are playing in Wales, you always want to put the red jersey on and represent your country. It’s something that never really leaves you.
“But I am just trying to approach it that I perform here, score a few tries, play well and hopefully that will come.”
Lane is still young and with plenty of time on his side at 25, yet he’s one of the more experienced players in a Cardiff back three department that features the likes of Theo Cabango, Cam Winnett and Jacob Beetham. As such, he has something of a new role.
“We have lost quite a lot of senior boys. I am still only 25, so in terms of my career I am only just half way, touch wood,” he said.
“But Jockey (Matt Sherratt) has spoken to me, understanding that I maybe need to fulfil a different sort of role now, as there are young players in the back three.
“It wasn’t something I was expecting to have to do. I have usually been the one looking up to the likes of Liam Williams or Josh Adams, who have achieved so much in the game. But it’s something I am enjoying. It just means I have to be a bit more vocal.”
As for the new coaching set-up, with Sherratt at the helm, Lane says: “He has been brilliant and the boys have bought into it.
“He was backs coach at the time I first came through. I think I’ve got a good relationship with him.
“I don’t think it’s changed much on field. He was heavily involved in the play last year anyway. It might have changed for him off field in terms of doing more than just the rugby stuff.
“Then with Melon (Gethin Jenkins) coming in, it adds a different kind of dynamic. Jockey is quite relaxed in his coaching style, while Melon is more to the point, to put it lightly, so I think they complement each other well and the dynamic is working, so hopefully we see that on the field.
“With such a long pre-season, there’s a worry that you are just going to get flogged for the whole time, but they have managed us pretty well, to be fair. We have had periods in, a week off, periods in.
“The boys are feeling as fresh as they can be and are excited to start the season now.”